As Mistoria Estate Agents tenants, you should already be aware of our deposit procedure. It is laid out in detail in your tenancy agreement. However, we still get asked lots of questions about deposits and we’re always looking for ways to improve our processes and communications with our tenants to ensure the best possible outcome for all concerned when it comes to returning deposits at the end of the tenancy. With this in mind, we thought it worth highlighting again how we handle your student house deposit, and some improvements we have put in place to ensure we’re all happy at the end of the year. Last year there were a few delays on our part in returning deposits in a timely manner to a small number of tenants. This was an internal issue that we have since addressed and put right, however the situation inevitably caused some upset to those affected and we were determined to take tenant comments on board and make changes where necessary. We took the opportunity to look at the whole deposit process and how we can do things differently to avoid similar problems in the future. The biggest change is the increased focus on our Quarterly Inspections. Going forward we will use these to help us identify any possible issues in plenty of time before the end of the tenancy, and inform tenants in writing of these issue so they may be rectified before vacating the property. To give this some context, there are four reasons why deductions may be made from your deposit:
- If you are in rent arrears
- Late (rent) payment fees
- If you have caused damage to the property
- If you have exceeded your utility usage (gas, electric and internet)
Quarterly inspections of the property should enable us to identify the above, giving all a full audit trail of any damages, and time to act on them. Here’s how the whole process works:
- Inventories are carried out at the beginning of tenancy to represent the condition of the property on move in
- Any maintenance will be picked up during quarterly inspections and tenants will be notified in writing of any possible tenant damages shortly after to allow opportunity to rectify them.
- Photo evidence is taken at quarterly inspections which will show any damages and also show if the tenants have rectified between inspections to the end of the tenancy. A final dated photo will be taken on check out for any outstanding damages that are to be deducted from the deposit.
- Utility usage is notified to tenants on a quarterly basis, this way any over-usage is known before move out and also gives tenants the chance to alter the usage in the property throughout the year. This will help to reduce or eradicate any deductions for utility usage exceeding the CAP stated in the tenancy agreement from the deposit.
- A final check out will be carried out on move out and any damages notified to the tenants on the quarterly inspections will be checked to see if rectified. If not then the cost to repair will be deducted from the deposit.
- Tenants are also advised to take their own photos on move out to use if there are any disputes.
Tenants will be notified of the inspection dates in advance and the appropriate 48 hours notice will be given. We hope the inspection system will help improve transparency and a better relationship with our tenants. Everyone will know where they stand and any potential delays to deposit returns at the end of the year should hopefully be avoided. If you have any further questions about our student house deposit procedure or quarterly inspections, please call 0800 500 3015.